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Sunday, May 31, 2015

God in Human Form..Dr. Subramania Swamy

A month later, the Tamilnadu Assembly elections were on, and I was passing Kanchipuram in the campaign rail. So I told the Janata Party workers to spare me some time to pay a visit to the Parmacharya.
When I again reached the same cottage, a priest was waiting for me. He said: “Parmacharya is expecting you.” I asked: “How is this possible, when I decided at that last minute to come, without appointment?” The priest replied. “That is a silly thing to ask. Parmacharya is divine. He knows every thing”.
Sure enough a radiant smiling Parmacharya received me. I thought that this time too, our meeting would last a few minutes, and after a few pleasantries, I can continue on my election campaign. But not so. Parmacharya spoke to me for 1-1 1/2 hours on all important subjects. He gave me guidelines on how to conduct myself in politics and what was necessary to protect the national interest of the country.
He told me that in politics, I should never bother about money or position, because both would follow me whenever an occasion demanded. But I should not be afraid to stand alone. He told me that all great persons of India were those who changed the thinking of the people from a particular set way of thought to a new way of thinking. “That is the permanent achievement for a politician, not merely becoming Minister or Prime Minister. Great persons, starting with Adi Shankara, to Mahatma Gandhi dared to stand alone and change the trend of people’s thought. But did either hold a government position?” he asked me. He said “If you dare to think out fresh solutions for current problems, without bothering about your popularity, and without caring for whether a government position comes to you or not, you will have my blessings.” When he said that I felt a strange sensation of happiness. I suddenly felt very strong.
During the period since my first meeting with the Parmacharya, I had thought a lot about him, heard his praise from so many people. From what I learnt and what I saw of him, I began to feel his divinity. There was no other human like him. If nothing else, he was one sadhu who did not bless Indira Gandhi during the Emergency when in the height of her power and at the height if the nation’s sycophancy, she came and prostrated before him. And yet when Indira Gandhi was down during the Janata rule, he received her and gave his blessings to her after she repented for the Emergency.
It is this thought, every time (that if I do something sincerely, and for what is for the good of the people) that Parmacharya’s blessings will be with me and see me through the interim period of public and media criticism and unpopularity, that has given me this courage that today even my enemies do not deny that I possess. In such endeavours, even though in the beginning when most thought that I was doomed, I came out it successful in the end because of his blessing.
In the next few instalments I shall, without drawing the Parmacharya’s name into the controversy, reveal many such initiatives that I took with his blessings. From 1977 to his day of Samadhi, I met the Parmacharya so many times and received his oral benediction and advice. But I never gave it publicity or got myself photographed. During his life time, I did not boast of my proximity to him either, although whenever I came to the Kanchi Mutt, always without appointment, he would see me. If he was asleep, he was awakened by his close helpers to whom he had obviously given instructions about me. There may not be another god in human form for another 100 years, but it was my honour to have known him and received his blessings. He may not be here today in human form, but because of what he had instructed me, I know and feel his is around.
After wonderful discourse from Maha Periyawal Sri Chandrashekhara Saraswathi in 1977, I went to have Parmacharya’s darshan numerous times. Whenever I had a difficult question that I could not answer, I would go and ask him for guidance. He gave me audience also in abundance. I got to see him whenever I came to Kanchipuram, or at Belgam in Karnataka or at Satara in Maharashtra or wherever else he was. But I did not publicize these darshan sessions in the newspapers as some others were doing. This was greatly appreciated by the Mutt officials and pujaris.
When Indira Gandhi returned to power in 1980, defeating the Janata Party, I was upset, and wondered if Emergency would be declared again. So I went with a group of Janata workers to the Karnataka – Maharashtra border, where Sri Parmacharya was camping on his walking tour. When I reached him, he was sitting in a hut almost as if he was waiting for me. As soon as he saw me, he got up and started briskly walking to a nearby temple. I just stood there watching him. Soon he stopped walking and sent someone to ask me to come to him alone.When I reached where he was standing, he said to me anticipating my question; “It is a good thing that Indira Gandhi has got an absolute majority. At this juncture, the country needs a stable government, and only Indira Gandhi is in a position to give that stability.” “But what if she declares another Emergency and tries to put us all in jail?” I asked.
To this question, Parmacharya only smiled and put his hand up in his known style of bestowing his blessings. I did not realize at that time, that Indira Gandhi had before elections, gone to Hubli in Karnataka where he was camping and prostrated before the Parmacharya. On her own, she had vowed to him and had said that if she came back to power, she will not repeat the mistakes of the past of declaring an Emergency. Then she asked for his blessings, which the Parmacharya had given by raising his hand and showing his palm.
As I was leaving, Parmacharya asked me if I could work to unite the opposition and include the communists in it. “Communists!” I asked in utter incredulity. I added: “The Soviet Union has just invaded Afghanistan (December 27, 1979), and are preparing to capture Pakistan, and then soon they will swallow India. How can we believe the Communists?”
“Not like that at all” said Parmacharya to me. He clearly gave me a hint that Communists will never be a danger to India. In fact he gave me a clear indication that in some years to come the Soviet Union will not be there at all. I just could not believe what I heard. But eleven years later, that is exactly what happened. The Soviet Union broke up in 1991 into 16 countries, a development no human being foresaw. Parmacharya was above human, a divine soul. He could see it. To this day I regret that I did not act on his advice because I spent nearly a decade (ten years 1980 -90) opposing Communism, little realizing that it was going to collapse of its own weight. I earned the Communists enmity for nothing. That is the only advice of Parmacharya I did not act on. On other occasions, I blindly followed whatever he told me. Of course, the golden rule with Parmacharya was that he would not on his own offer any advice, but when I asked him, he showed me the way. When my mind was made up on anything, I did not ask him what I should do. Of course if I did not have his blessings, I rarely succeeded.

Friday, May 29, 2015


In 1987 for example, I tried to land with some fisherman in the island of Katchathivu to assert the rights of fisherman under the Indo-Sri Lanka accord. MGR was Chief Minister then. He had me arrested in Madurai and put me up in Tamilnadu Hotel instead of Madurai jail. The then DGP, told me clearly that unless I give up the Katchathivu trip and agreed to return to Chennai, they would keep me under arrest. Those days I knew little criminal Law, so I agreed to return to Chennai not knowing my rights. After arriving in the city I drove to Kanchipuram and saw the Parmacharya. I told him of my humiliation and my inability to go to Katchathivu. Parmacharya smiled at me as if I was a child. He told me: “You go to Delhi and file a case in the Supreme Court against the arrest, and ask the court to direct the Tamilnadu government to make arrangements for you to go Katchathivu”.
So I flew that evening to Delhi. My wife is an advocate in the Supreme Court, so I asked her to draft my writ petition. She was shocked by my request, “The Supreme Court will laugh at you if you come directly on a question of arrest. You must first go before Magistrate in Madurai, then Sessions Court, the High Court, and then only to Supreme Court” she said.
I insisted that she draft the petition. So finally she said “As an advocate, I don’t want to look foolish in the Court. So I will draft your petition but the rest you do. I won’t associate with it.” But my blind faith in Parmacharya kept me going. With the petition filed, I appeared in the Court of the Chief Justice Venkataramiah. I arrived in the Court a few minutes before the Chief Justice took his seat. Many lawyers who recognized me met me to ask why I had come, they all laughed. All of them said: “Your Petition will not only be dismissed, but also the Chief Justice will pass remarks against your stupidity, and for wasting the time of the Supreme Court.”
When my Petition came up for hearing, a miracle happened. Chief Justice Venkataramaiah asked the Tamilnadu Counsel (then Kuldip Singh, who became a famous Judge himself later) why the Government had arrested me. Taken by surprise at the Petition not being dismissed, Kuldip Singh stammered. “Kuldip Singh went on to explain that a pro-LTTE mob was against me going to Katchathivu, and the LTTE had also issued a threat to finish me. Chief Justice Venkataramaiah then burst out at Kuldip Singh. He thundered “Are you fit to call yourself a democratic government? If mob wants to stop Dr.Swamy, you arrest the mob not Dr.Swamy.”The Chief Justice then passed an order that the Government should make all the necessary arrangements for me to go to Katchathivu. No one in court could believe it. Some asked me: “Are you related to Venkataramaiah?” I am not only not related, but those days I did not even know him. But I had the blessings of Parmacharya, and I was doing as he asked me to.
That was the divine power of Parmacharya ; when he asked you to do anything, he also took measures to see that the right thing happened.
After the Supreme Court verdict, I met Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in Parliament House. Kuldip Singh had already informed him of the court verdict. So he told me: “Why did you not speak to me first? I would have told MGR to allow you. In any case, when you plan to go to Katchathivu, the navy and air force will give you cover. But the fishing boat on which you travel has to be provided by you.”
On May 8, 1988, I landed on Katchathivu and planted the Janata Party’s saffron and green flag, and prayed at the St.Anthony Church there. As I approached the island, there were navel patrol boats on either side of my fishing vessel which I had taken on hire. Two air force planes were flying over me. I felt grand like a king. My salutations went to the Parmacharya. He made the impossible possible. From being arrested in Madurai to being royally escorted to Katchathivu, only Parmacharya could arrange.
In 1981, I became successful in persuading the Chinese government in re-opening for Hindu pilgrims the route to Kailash and Manasarovar. After 3 years of persuading the Chinese, in April 1981 the Chinese strongman Deng Xiao Ping invited me to China to meet him. In that meeting, he told me that as a “special favour to me and my efforts and in recognition of my steady advocacy of improved Sino-Indian relations [ he used the term "lao peng yeou" 'meeting old friend' ] he was asking the officials to meet Indian counter parts to work out the arrangements for pilgrims to visit Kailash. Deng had in jest asked me “But you must go first”. He had said it jokingly, but I was keen to see Kailash and Manasarovar. So when I met Mrs. Gandhi in Delhi to tell her of my meeting with Deng, I told her that I will lead the first batch of pilgrims and that she should agree. She laughed and said “of course. I wish I could go too.”
The opening of Kailash and Manasarovar had been considered impossible by our Foreign Ministry officials. China is a communist country and Kailash and Manasarovar is in the most sensitive area of Tibet. Therefore how could China allow Indians, even if as Pilgrims, to walk into Tibet? But the impossible happened because throughout the three years of talks with the Chinese, Parmacharya not only gave his blessings to me for this venture but encouraged me. “We must be friends with China and Israel” he would keep telling me whenever I came to him for darshan and anugraha (blessings).
When the Kailash and Manasarovar re-opening was announced, the first batch consisting of 20 pilgrims was slated to go in the end of August. That meant in 30 days of walking from the end of August to late September. By the time, we return, it would be end of September. At those heights in the Himalayas, September meant snow and ice cold temperatures, and that we would have to walk! Foreign ministry officials told me that since the route had not been in use for nearly 25 years, it would be a rough walk. We would have to clear bushes on the way, and perhaps encounter animals and snakes!
To make matters worse, Inderjit Gupta, then a CPI Lok Sabha MP, and good friend of many years, asked my wife to prevent me from going on this trip since I would not return. “It requires mountaineers to trek this route, not people like us” he told her. Others told me that I should think of my family (of two daughters then age 11 and and not venture on such foolishness. In fact one BJP MP, perhaps more out of jealousy than concern, told me that it is punya (blessing) to die on the route to Kailash. If that were so, I wondered, why not a single BJP or RSS leader has ever gone on a pilgrimage to Kailash? Perhaps because there are no Muslims there, nor a Masjid to demolish! BJP is anti-Muslim but not pro -Hindu, so Kailash means nothing of political value to them.
But the net result of all this was that a scare was created in my family and social circles. Many urged me to forget going to Kailash. I had done my duty, they said, in getting the route opened, but it is not necessary to go there. My daughters reminded me of my promise made the previous year that I would be with them on my birthday, which fell on September 15th. The previous year I had to be away to address a meeting in Bihar. If I went to Kailash I would again not be in Delhi on my birthday. This troubled me.
So anguished and confused by all this I flew to Bangalore, and drove down to where Parmacharya was camping. He was reading a book when I saw him. He put down his book and glasses, and asked me what brought me to him. “Kailash and Manasarovar route has been opened with your blessings. I have been asked by our Government to lead the first batch of pilgrims. But all my colleagues in Parliament are scaring me with stories of what can go wrong with me on this hazardous trip”. Parmacharya said in a comforting voice “Nothing will happen. You go and come. The opening of Kailash route is a great achievement for our country”
“I have only regret. That I will not be able to be with my daughters in Delhi on my birthday” I added. “When is your birthday?” He asked. “September 15th. But the journey back will not be completed before September 30th.” Parmacharya only smiled. He puts his palm in blessing and merely said: “you go and come”. I left on September 1st on my journey.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015


My journey to Manasarovar lake and then for a darshan of Kailash went very smoothly thanks to Parmacharya’s blessings. I returned to the Tibet-India border on September 13th, and camped that night at Kalapani, a military cantonment on the Indian side. That night, faraway from Delhi on the Himalayas, I could not help thinking of my daughters and my promise to them to be with them on my birthday. It would be another 15 days of walking before I could reach the plains and then Delhi.
Next morning at breakfast, the camp commandant came to me with a telex from Delhi. It said that on Prime Minister’s instruction, an air force helicopter would be coming that morning at 10 AM from Bareilly to pick me up and take me back to Bareilly, from where I will be taken by car to Delhi. I was thrilled. This meant that I would be in Delhi on September 14th evening, and be with my family on the next day for my birthday! What a miracle!
I was that time just an MP, and that too from the opposition. And yet this privilege was extended to me. The only reason for this was the blessing of Parmacharya. With this blessing, any miracle could happen. I was honoured to witness it. I prayed to Lord Shiva and Durga at the Kalapani temple at 18,000 feet above sea level, with snow all around. I said a special thanks to Parmacharya. When I returned to Delhi, and thereafter went to see Parmacharya, I explained all that happened. He merely smiled.
In 1986, I was passing Kanchipuram, so I made a detour and went to the Kanchi Mutt. Parmacharya was there giving Darshan to hundreds of people. I also stood in the crowd. But the pujaris saw me and whispered to the Parmacharya that I had come. So he asked me to come close and sit before him. After the crowds had left, he looked at me as if to ask me why I had come. The Babri Masjid issue then was hotting up, and so I said Parmacharya that I was planning to visit Ayodhya to study the situation. I asked the Mahaswami what stand should I take.
Parmacharya looked at me very sternly and said “you are a politician. Why do you have to take a stand on a religious issue? You stay out of it. You spend your energies on improving our economy or our relations with China and Israel.” I was taken aback by his stern remarks. But I persisted and said “At least the Government will have to take a stand”. He said: “Let the government make it possible for the religious leaders of both religions to come together and work out a compromise. But you stay out of it.
I then told Parmacharya that my friend, and leading Babri Masjid agitator Mr.Syed Shahabuddin wanted to see his holiness, and whether I could do bring him next time. The pujaris around the Parmacharya protested. They said that Shahabuddin was anti-Hindu, and he should not be allowed inside the Mutt.
The Parmacharya waved away their objections. He gave me permission to bring him to the Mutt. Then he said to the Pujaris. “Only Subramanian Swamy knows the art of befriending Americans, Chinese and Israelis at the same time. He can also be a friend of Shahabuddin.” Then turning to me, he said: “Keep this quality. Never be afraid of making friends with anyone.” I have followed this advice despite heavy criticism from the media. I have made friends with Morarji, Chandrasekhar and Indira Gandhi after terrific quarrels with them. Sometimes one needs to quarrel to come to an understanding of each other’s strength. Generally, I love to oppose those in authority because for a strong democracy, opposition is necessary. But Indian society being feudal, those in power underestimate who oppose them. And in my case, people in power have always underestimated me because they think I am alone. But they don’t realize I have friends everywhere, in all political parties and in all important countries. That is why I have won all my battles against Government.
Because I have never betrayed anyone, these friendships remain for a long time. In 1990, I could have betrayed Chandrasekhar and fallen for temptation offered by Rajiv Gandhi to become PM. But when I discouraged this idea, Rajv Gandhi’s esteem of me and trust in me went sky high. Because of the trust I develop my friends from all over the world confide in me. People ask me often “How do you get so much accurate information”. This is the answer. I have secret friends and open enemies. Most other people have the opposite: secret enemies and open friends.
Thus Shahabuddin trusted me to bring him to the Mutt with honour. In early 1987, I brought Shahabuddin to see Parmacharya. I brought the fierce Muslims-rights agitator Mr.Syed Shahabuddin to Kanchipuram to have a darshan of the Parmacharya. Shahabuddin had told me many a times that he had a urge to see the Parmacharya. He never explained why. Nor I asked him why since I assumed everyone would like to see a living God on earth.
Although Shahabuddin is a strict Muslim, he accepted two fundamental points defining a patriotic Indian Muslim. The first point, a patriot would accept that though he is a Muslim, his ancestors are Hindus since 99.9 percent of Muslims of India are descendents of converts. Muslims who think that their ancestors are Persians or Arabs or from Tajikistan, can never be patriotic Indians, because they live in a myth. They are psychologically uprooted fromIndia. The second point is that although the present day Indian culture is composite, in which all communities and religions have contributed, the core of this culture is Hindu in character and substance. Hence even if one changes one religion, it need not lead to a change of culture. Religion is personal, culture belongs to the nation.
Shahabuddin had accepted the two points and that is why I defended him against the charge that he was communal. But the RSS [which is not pro-Hindu, but merely anti-Muslim], saw in Shahabuddin a convenient hate figure, and dubbed him a “second Jinnah”. Naturally bigots of the RSS protested when they came to know that I was bringing Shahabuddin to meet Parmacharya. When we arrived at the Kanchi Mutt, the Mutt-Pujaris told me that Parmacharya had wanted me to bring Shahabuddin right into the inner part of the Mutt where he was staying. We were made to sit before a shut door, and told Parmacharya would come soon.
The door was opened by Parmacharya himself. When Shahabuddin saw him, he started to weep, with tears rolling down his cheeks. He folded his hands in a ‘namaste’ and said “Oh my Lord Parmacharya, please save my community and save the nation”. I was taken aback [Much later when we were back on our way to Chennai, I asked Shahabuddin why he broke down, before the Parmacharya. He simply said that he could not
control himself when he saw the radiant face of the Parmacharya.

Monday, May 25, 2015


Parmacharya asked Shahabuddin what troubled him. He said “The Babri Masjid has been shut to Muslims by a Court Order and I pray to you to help us open it to us”. [At that time, 1988 there was no talk of its demolition by RSS]. Parmacharya told him that Hindus and Muslims should work out a compromise. He suggested a number of proposals, such as joint prayers, or Hindu Prayers on Monday-Wednesday-Friday and Muslims Namaz on other days with Sunday being denied to both. All these compromise proposals, Shahabuddin said, would be unacceptable to devout Muslims.
I added in my proposal. Koran prohibits Namaz in constructions built by demolishing other religions holy places: therefore if it can be proved that a temple was demolished by Babar’s men to build the mosque in Ayodhya, and then the Muslims themselves should agree to the Babri Masjid demolition.
Parmacharya looked at me with a benign smile. He had earlier warned me to stay away from this issue, instead asked me to concentrate on political and economic issues. But Shahabuddin quickly agreed that Koran prohibited reading namaz in such places, but contested that Babri Masjid was built on a temple site. He said he had construction blue prints to prove his point. Two hours of discussion had taken place, and therefore the Mutt pujaris were getting impatient. A big crowd was waiting for the Parmacharya’s darshan. So Parmacharya closed his discussion by asking Shahabuddin to bring his blue prints and come again. Surprisingly, again Shahabuddin prostrated before him, and then we both left.
Shahabuddin never came back again. But two years later, I became the Law Minister. I confronted the Muslim organizations with a proposal that the Government would appoint a Supreme Court Judge in a one man Commission of inquiry to determine whether or not there was a temple before the Babri Masjid was built. And if the conclusion was that there was a temple, then Muslims must agree to give up the Masjid. If not, then the Hindus would vacate the masjid.
Surprisingly, while all the Muslim organisations agreed to my proposal, the fanatic Hindu organizations refused to agree. Our government did not last long enough for me to go ahead with the Commission of Inquiry anyway disregarding the fanatics. Nor could I persuade the successor Narasimha Rao Government to follow my proposal. It would have amicably resolved the issue. But alas, Babri Masjid was finally demolished in bitterness.
Perhaps Parmacharya was telling me not to get involved from the beginning because he foresaw that it would be demolished as a part of destiny. If Babar’s violence was undone 450 years later, then RSS violence on December 6, 1992 could also be undone someday, but I hope, by understanding and love. Otherwise the cycle of violence will continue in the country, with the Hindus and Muslims not reconciled to each other.
In April 1990, I received an urgent summons from Parmacharya to come to Kanchipuram. So I rushed. When I saw him, he merely smiled, put up his palm in blessing and then waved me on to go away! I was puzzled. Why was I asked to rush to the Kanchi Mutt from Delhi, merely to be sent away? The Mutt pujaris told me that on Parmacharya’s instructions the Mutt had decided that I was to share the dais with Rajiv Gandhi on the occasion of Parmacharya’s 97th birthday in May that year, to be celebrated in Kanchipuram. It turned out that no other politician except Rajiv and myself were to share the platform. It was a great honour, not only that I would be with Rajiv, but more that it was on Parmacharya’s instructions. But why did he so honour me?
That May meeting turned out to be crucial for me, because it created a rapport with Rajiv which I did not have before. Rajiv too had great regard for the Parmacharya and therefore his selection of me to pair with Rajiv, meant for Rajiv that I could be trusted. From that date onwards, Rajiv trusted me blindly with no reservations.
Parmacharya thus not only altered my outlook, but he also ensured from time to time that I came on the right path. Once for example, in 1992, the two junior swamis, Jayendra Saraswati and Vijendra Saraswati had asked me to collect some funds for a Ghatikasthanam library that they wanted to build in honour of the Parmacharya. They even printed letter heads to make me the “Patron” of the project, but insisted on a donation.
With great difficulty, I collected Rs.15 lakhs and gave it to them as Janata Party’s gift. When Parmacharya came to know about it, he sent me a query: “Why should you donate to the Mutt when you are yourself begging for funds from the people to run your party? Please do not do it in the future”. Since then I have stopped giving donations to any cause. Beggars cannot donate.Naturally, when Parmacharya attained samadhi in 1994, I felt like an orphan in public life. HE was always there when I had a dilemma to set things right. But I had the God’s grace to see him, a living divinity, for 17 years. Many of his opinions and directions I can never reveal, because he said them knowing fully well that I will keep it to myself. But by guided and listening to him, I have become so strong mentally as a person, that I feel that no one can cow me down or demoralize me no matter how bad a situation I am in.
Parmacharya taught me that the easiest way to finish an enemy is to make him a friend. He had urged me not to hate the sin, but the sinner. Of course, sometimes the easiest way is not available because of ego clash, and so the sinner has to fought to be made to realize the sin. But one has to keep in mind that there is a God’s scheme, redemption for the sinner what we call as prayaschitam. The ultimate revenge belongs to the divine. As human beings we have no right to revenge; only self-defence and righteous struggle. As Hindus, this is easy to understand because we believe in the law of Karma. People who see me fighting fiercely with Indira Gandhi, Chandrasekhar and Jayalalitha and then working with them get confused or even disgusted at what they perceive as my opportunism. I do not make up with those I quarrel with at height of their power, but when they cease to be in office. The reason for this flexibility in making friends out of enemies of yester year is the advice that Parmacharya once gave me in 1977:” India is plagued by divisions, and the egos of our rajas had played havoc with our national security, making it easy for foreigners to conquer us. Therefore, never hesitate to create unity, without of course compromising on the fundamental concepts of morality. India has never forgotten those who unite the nation.” I have defined three such fundamental moral principles.
These three fundamental concepts of morality areI shall not speak lie, even if I withhold truth.
I shall practice what I shall preach.
What I do will be transparent for all to see. I consider
myself therefore free to plan my political strategy as I see best, without regard to criticism from my political opponents, but within these three moral limits.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

My experience with His Holiness --- Miss Eugenia Borghini

Who is His Holiness Jagadguru Sri Sankaracharya Swamigal of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham? Is he a person, in the general meaning of the term? Surely not so. Whenever I am in His presence, or whenever I think of Him, I very rarely seem him as a person. He appears to me as a light. The phenomenon struck me since the first moment I was brought to His presence by very estimated friends of Madurai. His Holiness is mainly made of light, and often, even He grows up and down, like the flame of the candle. I was amazed. I has never seen such an extraordinary being.
His Holiness had at a moment His camp in the premises of the lovely temple of Ilayathankudi near Madurai. I stayed there for three or four days but felt unable to fix His Holiness's features. They were always different as if moulded in wax. I got the impression that he was quite tall.
In subsequent visits, I soon had another amazing experience. His Holiness is able to "switch off" His light all on a sudden; at such moments, His physical appearance can be seen normally, like any of ours. So I found that in face, He is very small and fragile. But what is the body of a Guru? Certainly I have had the direct experience that it is only the transparent receptacle of the spirit.
If we had enough interior stillness, I am sure we could detect from a far distance the peculiar atmosphere of quietness, shanthi, that lingers for miles around a Guru. We could then say: "Verily, somewhere in this region abides a Mahatma. Let's find Him and bow at His feet". I am sure we could do that, because at least when I am in the immediate surroundings of His Holiness, I can distinctly feel his powerful radiations.
I do not need to have his darshan in order to know that he is there. Everything is apparently normal around. People come and go, children play and laugh, time proceeds.......yet in some strange way, everything is "different". The mind is still, time is still, happenings have no meaning at all.
I once fell down so badly that I thought I had broken my leg. The leg was not broken but I was not much better for it. I spent a terrible night. From the left ribs to the tip of the left toe, I was feeling as if everything inside was smashed. I was biting hard my hand and groaning out of pain until dawn.
The situation was not a happy one. There I was miles away from any city, in a lovely coco-palms grove between the river and the sea, lost in Madras vast countryside. His Holiness was by then honouring with his presence the estate of a devotee and had allowed me to stay there. But time had come for me to leave. I had something important to do in Europe, which could not be postponed. I had asked that same morning His Holiness's permission to go, and how could I go now? And there was no doctor at hand, either. Yet, instead of being worried, I was perfectly calm. I had a terrible physical quiet and safety and had the absolute security that everything would be well. I could feel the strong warm radiation of His Holiness invisible presence. I remembered the words of Biblical Psalm "With His wings the lord will cover you; under his feathers you will be safe..." I was feeling safe under His Holiness's feathers.
At dawn I fell asleep for three hours. When I woke up, my leg was as sound as ever. That same day, I was sitting cross-legged as if nothing had happened, in the presence of His Holiness who gave me His blessings for my journey. And I left for Europe knowing that what I had to do there, which was really very important to me, would work out perfectly, which it did, of course. What can go wrong for a child when he is in his mother's arms? What can be wrong for any of us when we have been covered with the wings of the Guru?
May His Holiness be long with us.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


His Holiness Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamigal was the 68th Pontiff of the Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam. One of the most glorified saints the history has ever witnessed, He was a Realized Soul. Humility and simplicity were hallmarks of this great Avatara Purusha.
Lovingly called as ‘Maha Periyava’ or ‘Paramacharya’, the Mahaswami ascended the Peetam in 1907 at the age of 13. Intensively educated in all the Vedas and Shastras, He was multi-lingual too. Throughout the century that He was in his mortal form, gracing the world, He traveled the length and breadth of the country by foot spreading the fragrance of Sanathana Dharma and the glory of the Vedas.
As a Tribute to Mahaswamigal, Let us take a few moments to remember Him, through our beloved Sadguru’s words:
Thiruppaavai and Thiruvempaavai were composed in the Tamizh month of Maargazhi. So they are sung in ‘Ushat Kaala’(early morning) during Maargazhi. Thiruppaavai was composed by Andal and Thiruvempaavai by Manickavaachagar. They are sung in the worship of the Lord because it was in Maargazhi that these two took shape. Thiruppaavai is thirty in number but Thiruvempaavai is only 28 as Siva ‘aagama’ is only 28. Leaving aside the ‘stuti’ Thiruvempaavai together with Thirupalliezhuchhi consists of 28 verses. Even today Thiruppaavai and Thiruvempaavai competitions are held in schools. Today, their records are played in all the temples. The credit for making these two popular goes solely to Kanchi Saint Sri Chandrasekarendra Saraswati Swamiji (Mahaswamiji).
Of all the (Adi) Sankara Jayantis celebrated two have been very special. They were celebrated in a large scale. One was in Pondicherry and the other in Tiruvidaimarudur.
Once, in Pondicherry , Adi Sankara Jayanti was celebrated with the procession (‘purappaadu’) of Sankara’s picture. At that time Pondicherry was ruled by the French Government while the English ruled the other parts of the country. Many French and English bureaucrats used to visit Maha Periyava and this celebration was attended by both French and English officials. The French stood on one side while the English on the other. And the Indians stood in another line. Mahaswamiji invited the foreigners because Adi Sankara was Jagadguru! It was for this reason (that Adi Sankara was Jagadguru) that Mahaswamiji desired that all – the Indians, the English and the French to participate together in that spectacular event.
Once, during Sankara Jayanti celebrations in Tiruvidaimarudur, Mahaswamiji had invited renouned scholars. He conducted Thiruppaavai and Thiruvempaavai conference (‘maanaadu’) and asked the popular carnatic singer M.L.Vasanthakumari to cut a disc. It is these records that are very popular today. Tamizh Poets participated in Tiruvidaimarudur celebrations. Mahaswamiji said that Thiruppaavai and Thiruvempaavai are our two eyes. Poet U.V. Swaminatha Iyer corrected him, “Kann illai! Paavai!” (Not eyes but the ‘pupils’). Mahaswamiji immediately appreciated it, “Nanru Pandidare! Nanru!” (Well said, Oh! Poet, Well said!) Mahaswamiji used to converse with those Tamizh Poets in
their own style of pure Tamizh (‘shudha Tamizh’). One should not forget that the popularity of Thiruppaavai and Thiruvempaavai is only due to Mahaswamiji.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


There have been Mahatmas in every age. They have divine vision. Nothing is unknown to them. Sri Ekamram (a householder who had been a personal attendant to Maha Periyava for nearly three decades) said that once when Maha Periyava had camped in Pandaripura, there lived in this holy kshetra a young boy who used to do severe sadhana. He used to visit Periyava every day. His hair was unkempt and he wore religious marks on his body. He repeatedly sought sanyasa from Maha Periyava. But Maha Periyava's only response to all his pleadings was silence. Whereas, there was this man who was doing 'bhiksha kainkarya' (cooking and serving food) to Maha Periyava and who was not in the least interested in sanyasa.
But Periyava coaxed him into it! This man went on grumbling, 'I did not want sanyasa but Periyava has given it!' And people around found fault with Periyava's actions. They said, "How religious and spiritual this young boy is but Periyava has refused sanyasa to him whereas He has given it to another who does not want it and does not seem to deserve it!
"People see and judge a person outwardly whereas a Mahatma 'sees' through him and knows him inside out. After some years it was learnt through newspapers that this boy who had sought sanyasa from Periyava had married a foreign lady! With our limited mind we cannot see within. But a Mahatma's viewpoint ('drishti') is always right. To comment on their actions or to analyze their actions is very wrong. Maha Periyava came to the peeta (of the Kanchi Mutt) at the young age of 12.
Maha Periyava took sanyasa at the young age of 12. He came to the Peeta at this tender age. Just as we say a father should behave like a father, a mother should behave as befitting her status, so was Maha Periyava as a 'Peetadipathi' (Head of a Religious Mutt). He was an example of how a Peetadipathi should be. He was so in all aspects - as a Sanyasi, as a Guru, as a Vidwan and as a Tapasvi. He possessed highly exceptional qualities that are beyond description ('anirvachaneeyam' ).
He was an adept in Mantra Shastras. Once, a poor boy came to Maha Periyava in deep anguish. He had none to call his own except a sister whom he had married off. But she had become mentally deranged and her in-laws were pressuring him to take her back. He had no permanent earning or place of stay, and so was perturbed about bringing his sister back. She used to behave abnormally. Periyava asked the boy to bring the sister while He performed Lord Chandramouleeswara puja. Periyava said that after the puja He would do japa with the sandal paste ('chandan') which He would splash on her; and, she will react violently and run to a mango tree. Periyava instructed that none should follow her or stop her. She was very restless when she was brought in and would not stand there. Maha Periyava did as He had said. She ran out and hit against a tree and fell. She then became all right as the 'brahma rakshas' that had caught hold of her had left her. No allopathic medicine can cure such troubles. They will call it nervous weakness and at the most put the person to sleep using sedatives.
We proudly declare that a person had lived for 100 years but what is the use of living that long without a goal? But if Maha Periyava has lived a hundred years it had been a real living. He has shown how one should live. He remained as a beautiful ornament to the Peetta that he had occupied.
Once a topmost official in the Government asked Maha Periyava, "What is the way out ('gati') for me?" Maha Periyava said, "Once a goat has been caught by the tiger it can never escape its clutches. So, one on whom 'Guru kataksha' (glance) has fallen he cannot escape it." The official said, 'I am not a goat but a wild buffalo. The wild buffalo escapes tiger's jaws!' Maha Periyava said, "But the the scar of the attack has been left by the tiger. And that will work!" This person then asked, "Point out to me all the fake swamijis. I will put them all behind bars," and further inquired of Maha Periyava, "How to differentiate the good from the bad?"
Maha Periyava said, "Once while camping near Satara I had hidden three ripe mangoes in a basket full of unripe mangoes. When a child came in I asked it to pick a mango from the basket. It picked up a ripe one! A child could pick up the ripe mango from amongst a basket full of unripe ones. Just as the way a child knows what is ripe and what is unripe, so too would those who go out in search of Truth recognize a true Mahan at some point of their life." A devotee of Maha Periyava, was in tears as He did not visit her home. Maha Periyava said to her, "Why do you invite me into a home built of bricks? I will come and sit in the home of your 'hrudaya' (heart)!" What wonderful words? How could he coin such words out of the blue?
Once, Maha Periyava addressed a big gathering, "All of you have assembled here eagerly to listen to me. You have extended a big welcome to me here and all of you are also lending assistance to the Mutt. Everybody says that I must speak something. Instead, I feel that I can spend the time better in meditating on Ambal (Devi). What is the use of mere words? I feel that I should meditate on Ambal. There is no use of offering any 'upadesa' (counsel) to you all without doing any dhyana of Ambal. And again there is no need for words once I successfully complete the dhyana of Ambal and attain Her! This is because just by seeing me all of you will be transformed! Therefore, words are useless under all circumstances! "
Once, Maha Periyava performed a detailed 'upanyas' on Adi Sankara under the heading 'Egoless Acharyal'. Once, while speaking with His close devotees, Maha Periyava said, 'It is said that sanyasis (ascetics) should not possess any desire. But, I have a desire!' When the devotees asked, ‘What is it?’ Maha Periyava said in all humility, 'I desire that none in the world should know that such a sanyasi lives!' Further, in a 'Deepavali' special issue brought out by a weekly many years back, the replies of dignitaries from various walks of life to the question, 'what is the lesson learnt by you from the world?' had been published. This question was placed before Maha Periyava also. Maha Periyava said to them, "Every moment the world is teaching me some lesson. But only I do not possess the required maturity to learn!" This shows His humility.
Once, when Paul Brunton (a foreigner who came to India seeking a spiritual Master and the author of the famous book 'Search in secret India') sought 'upadesa' from Maha Periyava, Maha Periyava offered him the wonderful 'upadesa', "Be humble! You will find what you seek!"
Just through deep continuous thought ('smaran') of Mahatmas ('punya purusha') we will attain their state.” We also give below an interesting incident that Sri Ekamram (a householder who had been a personal attendant to Maha Periyava for nearly three decades) narrated, to show the value placed by Maha Periyava to all the work of the Mutt without any difference of high or low.
The different duties in the Mutt were allotted to different staff. As such it fell on a young man to wash the vessels used in the Sri Chandramouleeswara Puja. One day this young man while washing the vessels thought aloud, this is the lowliest and worst of all the services rendered in this place! This grouse of the young man fell on the ears of Maha Periyava who happened to pass by.
The next day Maha Periyava instructed all the staff of the Mutt to assemble in His presence.
When all had reported, Maha Periyava said, 'There are innumerable people who consider it the highest of blessings to wash the vessels used in Sri Chandramouleeswara Puja. But here is this young man who feels otherwise. Therefore, today he should be spared of this duty and all the rest of you should each wash a vessel!' And that day even the manager, who was only a year or two younger to Maha Periyava and a highly learned and intelligent man, lent a hand in washing the Puja vessels of Sri Chandramouleeswara. The young man
quickly realized his mistake and fell at the feet of Maha Periyava. From then onwards he attended to his duty with all enthusiasm and reverence."

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Swamigal and Multi-Processing

Once, an old Sathawadhani, also a Vaishnavite, had come to the mutt to obtain the darshan of Swamigal. As usual, the scholars gathered there were eager to quiz this Vidwan. While the pundits were asking the questions, Swamigal instructed a person to note down his own answers to each of them. After the end of the question session, the old man replied to all of them and every one of his answers matched that of Swamigals’.This episode demonstrated the knowledge of our Swamigal too. The old scholar was honored by Swamigal with Kashmiri shawl and other gifts. He returned to the mutt several times in the following years to repeat his performance. Professors, scientists, engineers and administrators, went to Acharya for guidance and encouragement. Among them was one Professor Ramamurthy, owner of a circus company, who came to address questions to Acharya and clarify doubts on the practice of Yoga. He obtained clear answers to all his doubts and was later heard commenting to a friend that “ the power of Brahmacharyam (chastity) can be found fully in Acharya and with this power anything and everything in the world can be achieved”.In the year 1917, the king of Dharbanga came to Kumbakonam during his pilgrimage to the south. He stayed in town for three days, had darshan of Acharya and discussed the temples and practices that united south and north. Engrossed in the spiritual power of Swamigal, he requested Acharya to travel and visit the northern part of the country.

Friday, May 15, 2015


(devotee:...... A very old woman (Paatti)

author:....... Raa. Ganapathi

source:....... KaruNaikkadalil sila alaigaL, pages 77-80

publisher:.... Divya Vidya Padhippaham (Jun. 2005 Edition)

It is not clear to my mind if this incident happened at the SriMaTham camp in Trichy National College High School campus, or Madurai Sethupathi High School campus.

The darshan queue was stopped from moving because of some important deliberation that was going on inside the SriMaTham camp. An old woman was standing in the queue. She can be described as the old woman of old women! She could have been over a hundred years old, standing bent at a right-angle, a staff in her hand that she was holding shakily. She was crying with all the tiredness of her soul: "Sankara, my Sankara! I was agitated if I would see you, or leave this world without seeing you. You came seeking this place! Since you have come, I came to have your darshan, but you have stopped me (nirutthi vecchu-tiyedaa) Sankara!"

Sri Sambha Murthi SastrigaL was going inside the camp, passing the old woman on his way. He was the pUrvAshrama younger brother of Maha PeriyavaL. He was of a kind heart, true to the family blood that coursed his veins. No sooner he heard the old woman's wail of yearning than he hastened his steps towards the interior. As he entered, he told Sri CaraNar who was immersed in an important delibration, "Outside--a Paatti--of a hundred or hundred and twenty or whatever age. Stands yearning and wailing for Periyavaa's darshan." Before the last words were out of his mouth, PeriyavaaL stormed outside! "Why have you stopped me, Sankara?" The Paatti was wailing repeatedly. He went to her, stood very near to her and said, "PaattI, here your Sankaran

has come. Look! Without knowing that you have come, I was busy with something inside. And as I came to know it, here I have come running." The Ruler of Grace spoke the words of nectar, which came up as the essence of

his love. "Vanduttiya, Sankara (so you have come, Sankara)!", said Paatti and held his hands tightly! The hands that were held by his mother Mahalakshmi AmmaL, were held today by another person, after a span of about 55 years.

As she raised her face and looked at the holy visage of Sri CaraNar, the vRiddhAmbikA (the good old mother) said, "Though you have come running for my sake and stand before me, I cannot look at you properly with my dim eyesight! ennappA (my son), only you should give me some good sight for a good darshan." It was the time of a hot sun. There was a narrow, thatched roof over the heads of the people in the queue. At Paatti's words, the bhakta parAdhIna jumped aside the shelter of the roof and stood in the hot son, barefooted! "Is the vision better now, Paatti?" he said. "It shows up very well ennappA, it shows very well!" Paatti patted her cheeks loudly.

PeriyavaaL gave her a complete darshan of his person, letting sunlight fall well on his face, tilting it, lifting it, and turning it in many angles, even turning his whole body giving her a darshan of his back. In a torrent of emotion, without knowing what she spoke, the old woman stuttered and lisped, cried profusely and was very happy! Sri CaraNar came near her again and said, "Have you seen me well Paatti! Can I go?"

"Yes, I have seen you very well (PAtthuNtempa), my son! Even for this

anAmadeyam (nonentity), KaruNAmurti, you have given your darshan. I was

holding my soul just to see you. I have seen you know. Take me now my son,

take me!" The parama bhakta prayed to him.

"PaattI! When the time comes, let us take it. I shall ask you now to be

dropped in your place. Go there and remain in Swami smaraNa (remembrance

of God). Don't come running again to see me! I shall always be with you

without leaving you aside for a moment!" The kRupA varSA (shower of

compassion) gave her his words.

Is there anything that matches the bhAgyam of the Paatti who received such

words of assurance from Sri CaraNar who out of his modesty uses words only

sparingly when he gives his abhayam to the bhaktas?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

After the maravas and the kuravas, it was the turn of paraiyas

Paramacharya was travelling in the Kodavasal–Koradacherry route. On the way in Tirukklambur, the slum people met him and submitted their humble offerings. Paramacharya heard their welfare and woes. Unhurriedly, he discussed the details with the manager as to what SriMatam could do to mitigate their woes, either in their own capacity or with the charity of affordable devotees.
The managers and the other officials started worrying about the ensuing delay for their next camp and the following pujas. The god of the poor, however, seated himself among them, and ordered dhotis and saris for every nandan – nandini from the local textile shop. If that shop didn’t have the required goods, Paramacharya ordered them bought at Kodavasal.
He also ordered prepartion of thick sambar rice under the shades of the trees. The manager was worried that the two or three hours time spent in these activities would delay reaching their next camp and that it would be very tedious for Periyavaa to undertake the long puja thereafter. When he started to express his feeings, Paramacharya said simply, “this is also a puja".

Monday, May 11, 2015

Maha Periyava, the Avatara Purusha

The year was sometime in late 60s. The place was Calcutta. I was working under Sri S.V. Narasimhan, the proprietor of Hauer trading company and Partner in Diana Rolling Shutters. Sri Narasimhan, an ardent follower of Maha Periyava, always used to call on Acharya whenever he visited South. Once Acharya expressed his wish that a Veda Padasala should be established in Calcutta where students can get opportunity to learn Brahma Vidya, the Vedas and Upanishads. Swamigal said that it is only an idea and Narasimhan should think how it can be made into reality. From this very moment, it became a passion for Narasimhan.
He always thought how such a project, conceived by Maha Periyaval, can be implemented. He realized he was too small to be able to implement such a massive project. But the very fact that Maha Swamigal entrusted this work to him indicates that Swamigal thinks that he can do it. The very fact that Swamigal expressed his wish to him made him duty bound to undertake it. He started making all the moves. Gradually he realized that there is a great power that functions behind him and he was merely being a tool, meeting people and praying. Soon, he realized that without himself making much efforts, things automatically started moving. Money started flowing and everything seemed to be moving smoothly. But it was not so smooth. A particular ground was selected as an ideal spot and Narasimhan started negotiating with the land owner.
Though the land owner originally agreed, later on he backed off. He said he has decided to give the land to some of his relations. When Narasimhan tried to persuade him, the landlord even spoke in a harsh language. Crestfallen, Narasimhan did not know any other way except to rush to Acharya. He visited Acharya at Kancheepuram and explained the whole scenario. Acharya listened to his story patiently, smiled himself and then said: ‘You proceed to Calcutta, see him again; let us see how things turn out”. Narasimhan did not share the optimism displayed by Maha Swamigal. He knew how adamant the land-owner was. There was no chance of his change of mind. Anyway, he returned to Calcutta. He hesitated to meet the land owner and yet decided to knock at his door because Acharya has commanded him. He was even prepared for the eventuality of doors being closed with a bang. Narasimhan had the biggest surprise in his life when he was received with great warmth and hospitality.
He could not believe his ears when the landlord said that he was in fact looking forward to his arrival and was now ready to offer the land to him. When Narasimhan enquired what caused his change of mind, he said that he is a great devotee of Kali Ma and Kali Ma came in his dream the day before and indicated that he should pass on the land to the same man with whom he was negotiating. There was another occasion when Narasimhan made a hurried one day business trip to Madras. He was through with his business. He was scheduled to board the flight in the afternoon. Maha Periyaval was camping in Madras and he never wanted to leave Madras without meeting the Pontiff. But there was a problem. If he goes to meet Periyaval, he would not be able to board the flight. There was some urgent work he had to do at Calcutta and he should leave the same day. He was in a double mind whether to meet Pariyaval or return back. Something within him told that he cannot leave Madras without meeting Swamigal. “Come what may, I would see Periyaval” thought Narasimhan. He decided he would have a quick glance of Periyaval, get his blessings and excuse himself. When he went to Sanskrit college, it was heavily crowded. In the midst of the crowd, Periyaval spotted him from a distance and smiled. Narasimhan wanted to hurry up but Periyaval, in his usual style of calmness, signaled ‘wait’. It slowly dawned on Narasimhan that he was going to miss the flight; something he wanted to avoid for so many reasons. He showed a kind of restlessness which Swamigal observed from the distance. Time was trickling fast. Still the sign from Swamigal was ‘wait’. Narasimhan told himself: OK I would sacrifice everything for the sake of Swamiji’s darshan and waited for his turn. Atlast, after some time, Periyaval beckoned him and Narasimhan made his way to Swamigal.
Then Swamigal said: “Calcutta Flight miss Panna Porai Allava?". Narasimhan was stunned. How did Swamigal know that he was going to miss his flight. Before he could regain himself from his surprise, Swamigal bestowed his blessings and then made another remark: “Go now and take your flight”. Since it was too late, Narasimhan said: “Para va Illai. Flight Kelambiyirukkum. Nan Nalakki Poren”. “No” insisted Swamigal. You go to Airport now. I tell you”. Naraimhan did not want to disobey Swamigal’s words. He knew the flight would have left and yet he went to the Airport for the sake of honoring Swamigal’s words. When he reached the airport, he heard the announcement: “All the Calcutta bound passengers can now board the flight”.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Maha Periyava as Lord Annapoorani!!!

Paramacharya as Goddess Annapurani(from the book titled Maha Periyavalh Virundhu by Raa. Ganapathi, pages 97-110.) Even during the 1920s., Paramacharya hosted a dinner for the Muslims, whose sense of unity and patriotism ran high in those days. Two hundred Muslim youths from an Islamic Youth Forum performed an exemplary service in the Mahamaham festival of 1921 in Kumbakonam. Paramacharya, who was camping at Patteesvarm nearby, heard about it and sent some Matam officials to bring the Muslim youths to him.The youths were very happy that Shankaracharya had called them to his presence.
They stood before him showing utmost reverence.Paramacharya praised their seva and heard the details about their Forum. He inquired their personal details such as native place, education, occupation and family of all the two hundred youths individually, and made everyone of them immensely happy. He also presented a silver cup as a memento from Kanchi Matam for their seva.Like the cherry on the ice cream, Paramacharya ended the interview with a tasty, three-course dinner to the youths.

Thursday, May 7, 2015


The Limping Horse
A King had a favourite horse. All of a sudden for no reason, the horse started limping. The veterinarians of the palace examined it, but could not find any clinical reasons for the defect in its legs. It became a great puzzle and problem for the king. So, he went to a saint to find a solution.
The saint saw the horse, touched it with love and made it walk. It was limping. The saint asked the king, "How do you train your horse?" The king said "By able trainers". "Did you change the trainer recently?" asked the saint. "Yes. He is an expert in science of horse training".
The saint thought for a while and asked, "Is the new trainer suffering from any discomfort in his leg?"
The king said, "Yes, he had a leg injury and he limps while walking."
The saint explained, "Dear king, this is the reason for the limping of your horse. It is imitating the trainer. Get someone who walks majestically like a horse. The the horse will also take majestic steps."
Parents and teachers should be ideal role models since children will imitate them.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015


As narrated by Sri D.Sivasubramanian, Dy. Director Handloom (Retd.) TN
Govt. now doing seva at Sri MaTham Office, with thanks to him for his permission to post his recollection
As an ardent devotee of kanchi MahaswamigaL, I have great pleasure to read
articles appearing in magazines, souvenirs etc. about MahaswamigaL and I am used to preserve them in my library. On one such occasion I was thrilled by an article written by Dr. C.R.
Swaminathan, former Deputy Educational advisor to Govt. of India. given to a souvenir. I reproduce a gist of the article, the message of which, I feel,
should be spread among the present generation.
This happened in the year 1956-57, when H.H. Sri Kanchi MahaswamigaL was camping at the Madras Sanskrit College, Mylapore, Madras.
One evening, MahaswamigaL was about to address a huge gathering in which great personalities like Rajaji were present. He was contemplating about the topic he should speak on. Suddenly, he called late Prof. Sankaranarayana Iyer, who was standing by the side of the dais and recited two lines of a Sanskrit verse. He asked the Professor if he remembered the remaining two lines of that verse. The Professor pleaded ignorance and got down from the dais.
This conversation took place before the mike, so audience gathered could easily hear its details. Dr. C. R. Swaminathan, the author of the article on Mahaperiyava, heard the beginning of the Sanskrit verse that Periyavaa recited. Since he happened to know the other two lines of the verse, he went to Prof. Sankaranarayana Iyer and told him those two lines. The Professor went up the dais again and recited the lines before
MahaswamigaL. Mahaperiyava asked him, "You said you did not know the lines. How come you know them now?" The professor replied "Someone in the audience remembered it and told me." Mahaperiyavaa inquired who was the person and told the Profession to call Dr. Swaminathan to the dais. When he came, Paramacharya inquired about his name and occupation. Then the sage asked, "Where did you study?" Thinking that the question was about his academic education, Dr. Swaminathan replied that he studied in the Presidency College, Madras. "Not that. Where did you learn this verse?" Dr. C.R. said that his grandfather taught him the verse when he was a child. Paramacharaya inquired about his native place, his grandfather's name and his family details. The entire conversation was held before the mike, so the audience heard every bit of it.
The verse in question was the following:
arthathuranam na gurur na bandhu kSudhAthuranam na ruciki na pakvam vidyathurANAm, na sukham, na nidhrA kamathuranam na bhayam na lajja
One who pursues wealth knows no guru or relations.
One who is hungry knows not taste or if the food was cooked well. One who pursues knowledge knows neither comfort nor sleep. One who has desires knows no fear .
Later in the discourse, Paramacharya dealt with the Kenopanishad and
explained how Goddess Parvati came as a teacher to enlighten the celestials about the supreme Brahmin.
When concluding the discourse, he referred to the earlier incident and said:
"Before I started delivering my discourse, I called a young man to the stage to know where from he learnt the subhashita verse, of which I recited the first half. I knew who he was. What I wanted him to tell you about his reciting the other two lines this moral verse was that he had learnt it, not from his school or college, but from his grand-father, and that during his childhood days. It was to impress upon you all that children should get moral education at home from elders because they cannot get it from the modern schools and colleges".
Dr. Swaminathan concluded his article with these words: "I am recalling this incident to show that an insignificant person like myself, extremely nervous, while standing before H.H. on the dais, noticed by about
thousands of people forming the audience, could be utilisied by the Acharya to drive home to the audience that (a) a joint family system with elderly parents and grand parents can serve as a valuable supplement to the school education of young children (b) the elders can usefully spend their time by narrating such stories and morals to the children and (c) such teaching can be retained in one's memory only if imparted at the formative age."
The above incident happened 50 years before, but the message holds good even today and will stand for years to come

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Wrist watch

Maha Periavaa was giving dharshan to a queue of devotees.
Suddenly Periva asked a devotee when his turn came, to show his wrist watch. His Holiness enquired in detail about the make, model, cost, etc. of the wrist watch. But without giving it back to the devotee he placed it near Himself.
Likewise he did the same to the next few devotees. There gathered a collection of wrist watches.
Next was the turn of a father-son-duo. His Holiness asked them to take whatever wrist watch they liked among the collection and it is theirs.
The duo immediately fell on the feet of His Holiness and cried for pardon.
The duo had earlier rejected a girl's marriage proposal for not being able to provide the wrist watch demanded by the duo.
What a gentle and powerful way of correcting a wrong!

Friday, May 1, 2015


S. Panchapakesa Sastrigal


In Kanchipuram Sivasthanam, the diamond jubilee celebrations of the Advaita Sabha was held. A number of maha vidvAns (great pundits) had gathered. NooraNi Sri Ananta Krishna SastrigaL was also there. One of the Udupi ParyayapIThAdhipatis (pontiff) was on his vijayam (tour) to Kanchi. NooraNi Sri Ananta Krishna SastrigaL supplicated to PeriyavaaL to bring the Udipi pontiff to the Advaita Sabha. Sri PeriyavaaL asked Sri Ananta Krishna SastrigaL himself to bring the pointiff to the Sabha.
Udupi SwamigaL visited the Sabha with happiness. Everyone asked him to give ananugraha bhASaNa(holy lecture). So he gave a longvicAram(inquiry) and spoke that the Advaita Shastra had its own shortcomings. He elaborated on many things in his talk of nearly an hour. Looking at the Pandits, he asked them to reply to the points he raised in his lecture. But then since he talked fast and long, the vidwans asked him to repeat his lecture. To that Udupi SwamigaL said that if Sri PeriyavaaL directed him to repeat his lecture he would do so. Sri PeriyavaaL at once said with amandahAsam(gentle laugh), "You don't have to repeat it. I shall do the anuvaadam " and did his anuvaadam like a tape recorder, without leaving anaMsam(part) of what Udupi SwamigaL had said. All the vidvAns, including the Udupi SwamigaL were wonder-struck. Since I was also present there at the moment, I had thebhAgyamof experiencing the greatness of Sri PeriyavaaL.

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